How to Oxidize Sterling Silver with 7 Simple Tricks! – Jewelry Making Tutorials

How to Oxidize Sterling Silver with 7 Simple Tricks! – Jewelry Making Tutorials

Hi everyone, this is Cyrus from Gempacked Do love the way the oxidized silver looks but have trouble oxidizing yourself? No worries because I got a few tricks
that’s going to make it a lot easier and look much better. More importantly, I’m going to show you the proper way to oxidize silver safely. …Which reminds me. As always, this video is brought to you by safety. Safety: Enjoy life with eyeballs! …Anyways this won’t take long, so let’s get
to it Remember, safety first. You need to work in a well ventilated space with a sink, safety goggles gloves and a mask. It’s
also a good idea to have baking powder handy in case of a spill to neutralize
the acid. You can sprinkle some other baking soda
on your workspace where ever you think there might be acid. If you get some acid on your skin, put baking powder on it immediately and
then rinse off with water. The other materials that we need are sterling silver obviously, and any silver
material including beads, chains, and other findings will work as long as the metal is not plated or
treated with some kind of anti tarnish coating. We will also need an oxidizing agent. For this video will be using an acidic solution called silver/black but there are many others on the market
and they will work just as well. You also need a tweezer or something like it to grab the pieces. So now that we have all the essentials, we
can get to the fun! Why water down the solution? Undiluted oxidizing solution is very
strong. A mixture of one part silver black with
one or two parts water is ideal for most projects, and it will allow you to stop the reaction before the silver gets too dark. You can store the watered down solution in a separate glass or plastic container with a lid and reuse it until it becomes too
weak. If you use the solution straight from
the bottle your silver will turn a really dark, dull black before you can say “tarnished”
three times fast. Using a resealable bag is one of the
biggest time and money savers for oxidizing Sterling Silver out there for a few reasons. You can pour the
diluted solution from earlier into the bag, do what you need to do, and pour it back without lowering the strength of the original bottle. Over time the plastic bags save a lot of
solution because it is easy to drain, causes less spills, and allows you to use
the same liquid until all of the oxidizing power has been exhausted. Another important point is that doing
oxidation makes some fumes so doing inside of a plastic bag will keep
all those nasty smells inside because you really don’t want to be
breathing that stuff. If you’re having problems getting the
sterling silver to oxidize evenly, you can also put the items directly onto
a paper clip, dip it into solution, and quickly remove it
to get an even color on multiple items really easily. Having a stainless steel paperclip in the
solution will also make the process go a lot faster. Why? Because science, that’s why! Sterling Silver is a catalyst for the oxidation reaction. This is great for rhodium-plated items
because it’s a lot harder to oxidize rhodium than regular sterling silver. You are going to need something to help the reaction go. So, I am showing you two different reaction side by side. The one on the left is oxidizing with
the paperclip, and the one on the right is oxidizing with just plain silver wire. The left one goes a lot faster and it goes
to completion, but the bead on the right doesn’t really get dark at all. It’s a little bit hard to tell from the
video but when you see it side by side in the picture, you can really tell the difference. the piece is not as dark as sterling silver would be but it is definitely a few shades darker and
it looks really sleek. Sometimes you oxidize silver and you go a little bit too far. Has it happened to you? Don’t worry about it
it’s okay, there’s a way around it. If you feel like the silver has become too
dark, you can lighten it by putting into cleaning solution and shaking vigorously. Make sure that you are using new
silver cleaning solution for the best results. It won’t go back to the original color,
but it will lighten by a few shades and it’s gonna give you another chance to get
the color you originally wanted. You can shake it up, make sure it gets
all in there, and you can discard the solution, or you can save it for later. It’s up to you. Rinse it off… and there you go. Again it’s not as bright as it was
originally but it’s gonna give you another chance to
get the level of darkness that originally wanted. Cotton swabs are great for the times you
don’t need to oxidize the entire piece. I have a pave diamond item right here
that I did some work on. And now the top isn’t oxidized anymore, so I just want to even up the color. I’m gonna take a q-tip or cotton swab, dip it into undiluted oxidizing solution. And just apply it to the area that I
need to. I am going to avoid the stones and other delicate areas, and just keep on going back and forth like that, until I get the color that I want. I rinse it off, dry it up with a paper towel, and notice how I scrub a little bit. This is to polish it up so that the color matches a little bit easier. Just inspect a little bit, and it looks
pretty good. …Which leads us to our next pro tip. Using paper towels to polish the
sterling silver and even out the color. Paper towels are obviously good for
drying your pieces after rinsing them but that’s not it. Paper towels are great for removing
areas with uneven color if you don’t have a polishing cloth laying around. Just scrub it like this, and it’ll get a little bit shinier each time you do it Keep in mind that a rough paper towel will work better than a soft one for scrubbing, but both will work if you do it long enough. When you see that part of a chain that I
scrubbed side by side with the part that I didn’t, you can really tell the difference. And that brings us to the last pro tip, which is to use a hairdryer to quickly dry things off. I’m pretty sure you’ve used these before,
so I don’t have to explain very much. It’s a pretty good idea to use a paper
towel with it and just gently go around with the hairdryer until all the moisture is gone. …and there you have it! This video went over a few easy ways to
help you get the perfect silver oxidation job done on your own using common household items. Hopefully it also gives you an important lesson that you don’t always need fancy jeweler
tools to help you save time, money, and hassle. A lot of the thought process that you use for problem-solving like this comes from the same place as the inspiration that goes
into creating your jeweler designs. Use the steps that we went over today,
and keep your eyes open for even more time savers that might be just lying
around. Thanks for watching!


  1. Hi Cyrus!

    I am trying to oxidize rhodium plated silver and rhodium plated brass. What do you suggest I use to do this.

    Thank you!

  2. That Silver Black solution, it suppose it only comes in larger bottles (oppose to something like 30 or 50 ml)? The only thing I'd need it for is when I bought new silver items, and I really dislike the spanking new pale white colour (understandably for the "new" condition it sells as) most sterling silver starts with, it also looks kinda cheap/fake imo, but that's a matter of taste (so noone take offense please!). And what exactly is Silver Black, in terms of chemical (-composition)? Thanx! 🙂

  3. You showed Baking POWDER…but also referred to it as Baking SODA. They're very different in cooking…are they interchangeable for neutralization purposes?

  4. I have a silver ring that was oxidized but after a week it's already rubbing off and I'd like to do it myself. I've been wearing it so I don't know if the oils will make a difference, from what I understand it'll make it darker which is what I want. Is it advised to clean it before hand and if so, how? Also, is keeping acidic sulfur solution in a plastic cup safe as in will the plastic cup melt or will there be toxic fumes evaporate?

  5. I think antiqueing makes silver look fake. Can you reverse the process somehow to get that more typical sterling look back?

  6. What can I do to keep it oxidised? . The black slowly comes off while wearing an oxidised ring.
    Thank you for your answer!

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